Saturday, March 31, 2012

A Conglomeration of Cards

Making homemade cards is one of my most favorite things to do. Someday I really do want to open an etsy shop. What I'm kind of doing right now is...I don't know...creating an inventory. When I come up with an idea for a card, I don't just make one. I make 25 or so. And I keep 'em for the eventual time when I'm ready to do the etsy thing. Someday.

This is the card I designed for my mom to send people for Christmas - we worked on them together:

Here's the card I made to send out to friends and family for Christmas:

A wintery-based thank-you card:

A birthday card:

A Valentine's Day card:

The young women in our ward do an annual fundraiser; you pay to attend and have a dinner they make, and then members of the ward bring things to auction off. It's a silent auction. One year I brought some homemade rolls; this year, I thought, since I have all of these cards sitting in my storage room, I might as well auction some of them off for a good cause.

So I put together two of each card I have and put them in a cute little basket I had on hand:

I had some cards I made back in 2007 - graduation cards that say '07 over and over again on them. I revamped them so that they now say '12. The old card is on the right; the new one is on the left:

Another view of the revamped card:

I'm working on some spring-themed thank-you cards right now; they're "terrif," as Millie from Thoroughly Modern Millie would say. In fact, I paused that very movie to skype with the hubby and write this post, so I shall now return to it. My plan is to sit on my butt, sip icewater, peruse the new People magazine, and listen to Julie Andrews sing "Baby Face." The best musical EVER.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Saga of the Dining Room Table

Kay. So, our family has grown in the past several years - have you noticed? - and Ben and I were starting to realize that our little table (circa Ben's bachlorhood) just wasn't cutting it anymore. Luckily, we have a nice, big dining room (Big bathroom? NO. But big dining room? Yes.), so we felt like we could get a bigger table.

Enter the discarded table from Ben's office. They were going to get rid of it, and Ben decided it would be a perfect new dining table for us. It was an eighties spectacular - hunter green legs and a glass top. When Ben brought it home, much frowning was done on my part. He assured me that he could turn it into something beautiful. I believed him. Because, you know, that's what he does - makes beautiful things. The man has a great sense of aesthetics.

It sat in our garage for....6 months? A year? A really long time. Finally, when we got back from China, after many weeks of passive-aggressive comments on my part ("That table just takes up so much SPACE in the garage, Ben..." "Sure wish I could walk around in the garage..."), he assembled his tools and got to work.

He began by removing the glass top and sanding off that craptastic hunter green color. Then he used some kind of sander that would make the legs have that "brushed metal" look:

(I took this picture from inside my house. It was soooo stinkin' cold outside. I wasn't going out in that.)

Next, he put two heavy pieces of wood on top and secured them. Somehow. I'm a little fuzzy on the details:

Then he put this special tiling board on top of the wood:

It sat like this for another few weeks. Sighhhhhhhhh. Note my feeble attempt at decorating up above, with my vase of flowers standing in the middle of the unfinished table. Just sad.

After that, we went tile shopping. We really wanted to do the whole top with that beautiful glass tile that's in little one-inch by one-inch squares. We've seen them in a lot of the newer homes as backsplashes and just loved them. We picked out some really gorgeous tile. But then the dude at Home Depot told us that glass tile is good for backsplashes, but not for surfaces where you will be putting plates. He told us they're not durable for that kind of usage.

So scratch that idea.

We decided to do glass tile just in the center - like a little visual table runner. We knew that not that many plates would be scraping around the middle. Most of the action will be around the outside of the table. So we got some glass tiles for the center and regular floor tiles for the edges.

I thought we were going to just put the big ole' tiles around the edge and call it good, but Ben decided he wanted to cut each and every tile down to really small tiles - maybe 3 inches by four inches.

He borrowed his friend's tile cutter and started cutting outside, but it was so stinkin' cold that the water in the tile cutter thing kept freezing, and Ben couldn't feel his fingers, much less manipulate that tile with his fingers very effectively.

So the man brought the tile cutter inside. Sighhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

And guess who didn't cover anything? Yeah. Ben. So he cut those tiles in my kitchen and splashed tile water all over everything in the entire kitchen. The walls. The appliances. The floor. The cabinets. The cereal boxes. Everything. Everything.

And then have you ever heard a tile cutter cutting? Screeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaammm!!!! Screeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaammmmmm!! Screeeeeeaaaaaaaammmmmmm!! That's how it sounds. It makes my little Sensory Perception Disorder ears just RING. (I have a theory that I have Sensory Perception Disorder. Another post for another day.)

So could Gage nap? Nope. The kids spent the entire day cringing and covering their ears. And I actually hightailed it to work. I just couldn't take the noise.

And then I came home to behold the tile water splatters all over my kitchen. Which I got to clean up.

Have I ever told you about Ben's and my roles? He makes the messes. I clean them up. Always. Re-shingling the roof? Ben tore the old shingles off, I cleaned them up and took them to the dump. Tearing down the ceiling in the laundry room? Ben tore it down, I cleaned it up. Black makeup applied on Ben's face, arms, hands, feet, legs, etc. for Halloween? He applies it and smudges it all over the house. I clean it up. The list goes on and on. It's swell.

Be Better, Kar, not Bitter. :)

Kay. Rant over.

At long last, the tile cutting was done, and then...the table sat for another few weeks. Sighhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

Then, Ben found out with just two days' notice that he had to go to China. So for those two days, he put that sticky stuff on the tile board and placed the tiles. And then the man went to China, leaving me with an unusable, but beautiful, table:

Pretty, huh? Maybe even worth all that screaming noise.

So. For the last few months, we've been eating our dinner on our eighties table in our living room:

Which is tough for a few reasons: 1) Kids spill. A LOT. And cleaning spills off the carpet? Not preferable. I'd rather clean spills off the hardwood floor. 2) We've always had a "no food in the living room" rule. But since the table is in such close proximity to the couches, the kids are starting to migrate with their food to the couches. I have to constantly remind them to keep their food at the table. So the living room and couches have more crumbs on them than usual. Which makes my skin crawl. 3) It's just so ugly. I'd soooo rather have a cute, skinny decorative Ikea table there, a la the one in our dining room:

Am I right, or am I right? (*Note - that big, bare spot above where the eighties table currently is? It's awaiting my beautiful painting of Chinese cherry blossoms, which will be here, along with its handsome giver, on Tuesday!!!)

On the upside, it's the perfect place for kids to do homework, or for my sisters and Mom and I to play cards, say, during March madness games. So that's been fun. We'll see what we decide to do with it when Ben grouts the table and we can actually eat at it (Which I'm hoping is next week while he's here. I have a list of Honey Do's a mile long).

In the meantime, I've tried my hardest to keep the kids and their messes away from the ungrouted table, with minimal success. Note the Nerds candy:

The leftover Trix cereal dust:

And remnants from Dylan's dinosaur bone excavation kit:

I think I'm going to have to get that office spray stuff that sprays air really, really hard. You know the types they use to clean keyboards and motherboards? Yeah. I'm going to have to shoot that stuff out of there so Ben can get his grout on.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A Sincere Compliment

(I have no clue why he has one of Gage's bibs on in this pic.)

The other day, Mikey was at Mom's house, and she was walking up the stairs, he trailing behind. He said, very sincerely, "I love your bumb, Gramma."

A few days ago, I was putting my contacts in my eyes, and he stopped in the doorway and observed me struggling (Putting in contacts is always a struggle for me. This dang dry Idaho air is a killer). Then he smiled his little dimpley smile and said, "I love your eyeballs, Mama."

And here's the real killer. Ben had been showering, and Micah was also in the bathroom. Since both of them are boys, Ben didn't have a problem emerging from the shower and toweling off in front of Micah. Micah said, again, very sincerely, "I love your pee-pee, Daddy."

Ben didn't quite know what to say to that. If I remember correctly, he said, "Alrighty then..." and made a beeline down to our bedroom to put some clothes on. :)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

I love these.

When Ben and I were first married, we went to an art fair and got a print of a flower like this. We've had it on our wall for years. I haven't ever seen them in real life and was wondering if it was some kind of photoshop touch-up of a sunflower or something...

Turns out, they're real! Ben got some for me last fall, just because. (Sweet, huh? I'm so glad I married a husband like that.)

Those suckers turned the water in the vase a hot pink color, no matter how fresh the water was. Within minutes of changing the water, it was hot pink.

Flowers make me so happy. They really can cheer you up. My crocuses are blooming and I could stand out there and stare at them for hours.

Someday when I'm old and rich, I'm going to always have fresh cut flowers on my dining room table. That's what I've decided.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Homemade Christmas Tree Ornaments

This is what happens to me every time I sign up to do a Super Saturday - I sign up for, like, three crafts, and then I only have time to complete one while I'm there. And I have to do the rest at home. I really need to stop doing that.

Anywho, one of the crafts at my mom's Super Saturday was glass etching. I dithered for a long time on whether I wanted to do it, because something about glass etching feels so eighties to me, you know? But I thought long and hard about it and went to Porter's for inspiration. And there I found some square glass ornaments. Really cute. And I thought, I'm going to fill these ornaments with something dark and then etch the glass on the outside. Perfect. I got some cute Martha Stewart stencils to use for the etching part.

I wanted to make the ornaments for my sister, Beads. We sisters rotate who gives whom gifts for Christmas every year, and I had her this year. And may I say that my family is so sweet when it comes to me and my silly gifts. I make a lot of them, and they aren't necessarily what my family members want or need, but they are gracious when I make them stuff for presents. Beads's tree is decorated in navy blue and silver. I figured I'd fill the ornaments with navy-colored stuff, and then etch the outside and it would look great.

So I took my ornaments with me to my mom's Super Saturday, applied the stencils, applied the etching chemical, and....nada. It didn't work. That was when I realized that I hadn't gotten real glass ornaments - I had gotten craft glass ornaments:

And apparently, craft glass is kind of plastic-ey. Or maybe all plastic-ey. Who knows?? So it turns out that I didn't have to worry about the eighties-ness of etching, after all. :) Because there was no way the etching chemical was going to work on these.

I decided to use those same stencils and paint them the outside of the ornaments, still filling them with...something.

So here's what I came up with.

There is this special glue that you can pour into these ornaments - it's very liquid-ey, almost waterey. So you pour some in, shake it up so the whole inside of the ornament is coated, and then pour fine glitter in. Then you shake it some more, and voila, you have a glitterey ornament:

After much searching, I also found some navy blue glitter, but for some reason, it wouldn't stick. It all just fell to the bottom, despite applying glue first. Which was weird. So that didn't work out.

Then I found this amazing stuff called alcohol ink. Oh my gosh, it is soooo fun to play with. And you actually apply it to the outside of the ornament. You just drip a few drips on the outside and smudge it around with a sponge. And it spreads and just does cool, funky things on its own. Drip, smudge. Drip, smudge. And it dries quite quickly. Here is the result:

I just love the way that looks.

I thought I'd get a similar result with the silver-colored alcohol ink. Turns out, nope:

No matter how much I dripped and smudged, it turned out to be a very matte finish. Which was fine.

Then I messed with doing both together. Because the silver doesn't spread like the blue, it was interesting, but still kind of a fun result:

I still had several more ornaments I needed to figure out. I searched high and low for navy blue stuff and really was coming up empty. I finally found this cool yarn and decided to cut the poofy navy parts off it and stuff one of the ornaments:

It took every single navy blue poof to fill that sucker:

I have some Christmas tree garland in my storage room that I've used before and really liked, but I didn't want to spend any more money on stuff (I'm sure my husband would have agreed with that sentiment), so I cut the garland apart and dropped just the silver beads into another ornament:

Oh my gosh, never again. It took FOREVER:

And it ended up making the ornament really heavy - Brianna has to kind of rest the ornament on a sturdy bough of her tree, because it's too heavy and the top keeps popping off.

You live and learn, eh?

I forgot to take individual pictures of the two ornaments I stuffed with bits of cut-up, navy blue tinsel. I liked how those ones turned out, too.

Once all my ornaments were painted/glittered/stuffed, I put those stencils on top and painted them just with acrylic paint. They do sell metallic silver acrylic paint, thank goodness. And of course they sell navy. After I painted each one, I sprayed it with that glossy finishing stuff. And topped each with a pretty ribbon. Here are the finished ornaments:

That is supposed to be holly on the silver glittery one. Hard to tell. That didn't end up looking so good. It was the bigger stencils that turned out better, I think.

Beads loved the ornaments and proudly displayed them on her tree. We skyped with her on Christmas Eve and she took her laptop up to the tree so she could show me how she hung them up. She's so cute. That girl has GOT to move back out west. For reals, yo.

So yeah, for the funkiness of the navy alcohol ink and the crispness of the silver snowflake stenciled on top, that is definitely my favorite ornament of the eight. Which one is yours?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Getting that Bubble Popped

We baby-sat my friend, Megs', kids once a week for several weeks last fall while she had a standing appointment to go to. My kids adore her kids so much and they play really well together. Sadie and Brynnan usually spent the time running around and screaming, Jonas and Dylan spent the time playing video games together, and Tinian spent the time nestled in my lap, where it was safe. Every now and then he would get brave and wander around.

One night, Dyl and Jonas were playing Super Mario Bros., and there was an unused third player Wii remote left on the ground, with a steering wheel still attached (for use when you play Mario Kart). Tinian picked it up and started shaking it, staring intently at the screen:

For those of you who don't know, when you play Super Mario Brothers, and your character dies, it comes back to life in a bubble thing. And if you want another player to pop your bubble so you can continue playing, you shake the Wii remote to get you closer to the other players.

It made me laugh so hard that Tinian had picked up on this. You can tell he comes from a family of gamers. :)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

My Foray into Bow-Making

Soooo, like I said, I went to my mom's Super Saturday activity for her ward Relief Society, and in addition to the Thanksgiving display, we learned to make three different types of bows. Here are mine:

I've seen these styles around for awhile, and I always thought they must be so complicated to make, but they're actually quite easy. This one involved a long strip of twisted fabric and lots of glue:

And I need to figure out what kind of glue they had, because it's crazy-strong.

I picked this up at Porter's the other day - it's called a Gluber:

These disks come pre-cut and are extremely sticky, apparently, eliminating the need for all the glue. I haven't had a chance to play around with it yet, but we'll see how it goes.

This one was also easy:

You use this template and cut 16 flowers out of some kind of polyester fabric - it has to be polyester. You have to then burn the edges of each flower with a candle flame. Then you fold and sew, fold and sew. Sixteen times. It's time-consuming, but with a gorgeous result. My adorable cousin, Kelsi, got married last summer, and one of her friends made several of these types of flowers and attached them in kind of a cascade to Kelsi's wedding dress - so beautiful:

Then the ribbon one:

Again, a little bit of sewing involved, and a little bit of hot glue.

A couple of months ago, I taught my friend, Megs, how to make the ribbon ones, making two more in the process of teaching her:

The one on the left is from some leftover scrapbooking ribbon I have (it goes good with an off-white sweater Sadie has), and the one on the right matches one of her t-shirts exactly. So cute.

I'm going to Boise this weekend for Dylan's Taekwondo tournament. It promises to be a really looooong weekend with much sitting around, so I decided to bring a project. I cut a whole bunch of ribbon I have on hand to make bows for Sadie that match her shirts:

I have 'em all in baggies, and hopefully it will be something easy I can do to take up time while I'm sitting around. I probably, as usual, have bitten off more than I can chew! We shall see.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

More Thanksgiving Decor

My mom gave me a cute little decorative wooden box a few years ago, and I could never quite figure out what to fill it with. So it sat empty year after year.

But then I went to Wal-Mart to get groceries this last fall, and lo and behold, there they were - bags of painted styrofoam fall vegetables on super-duper clearance. They were the perfect filler:

Here it is with my seasonal candle plate decor and some other Thanksgiving things my mom has given me:


Then I went to my mom's Super Saturday for her ward, and we made this cute little display:

Isn't the paper they chose for mod-podging adorable?? The other side of the blocks says, "Fall," and "Autumn," so you can use those earlier in the fall.

And what better fall decor than a real miniature pumpkin?:

Autumn is my favorite time of year. I sure wish it lasted longer.
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